GOP, Dem candidates set for 48th Senate District special election

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold, the Republican nominee for the state's 48th District Senate Seat.

Republican and Democratic committees in the state's 48th Senate District chose their respective candidates over the weekend for a Jan. 14 special election that will fill a seat vacated last month by Mike Folmer.

The York, Lebanon and Dauphin Republican committees on Saturday, Oct. 19, nominated Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold to run as that party's candidate. On Sunday, Oct, 20, Democrats nominated Michael Schroeder, an associate professor of history at Lebanon Valley College.

The two will face off in a special election in the historically conservative district that includes northeastern York County, part of Dauphin County and all of Lebanon County.

Dave Arnold, who has served as Lebanon County's district attorney for nearly 14 years, did not respond to requests for comment. But in a campaign news release earlier this month, the Republican labeled himself as a Harrisburg outsider who would fight to reduce taxes and protect the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"I will go to the state Capitol with a purpose and fresh perspective on many issues, especially ensuring the public safety of our communities," Arnold wrote.

More:Lawmaker facing child porn possession charges waives hearing

More:Sen. Folmer resigns amid child porn charges

Schroeder has never run for office, although he has studied and written about politics for the past three or four decades, he said when reached  Monday.

Michael Schroeder, Democratic nominee for the state's 48th District Senate seat.

"I just decided I can make a bigger difference in Pennsylvania as your state senator than I can as a college professor at a small liberal arts college and environmental activist," he said.

The Democrat's primary legislative issue is climate change, he said. Schroeder supports Gov. Tom Wolf's executive order to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine-state cap-and-trade carbon emissions program.

If elected, Schroeder also would fight to raise the state's minimum wage, protect women's reproductive rights, expand access to health care and increase education spending, particularly for higher education, he added.

Although the district has been historically conservative, Schroeder said voters, particularly those in Lebanon County, seem to have grown accustomed to Republicans' "stale politics" and want a fresh alternative.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman scheduled January's special election after Folmer resigned last month, a day after the state Attorney General's Office arrested him on felony child pornography charges. 

The arrest came in the wake of a cyber tip in March from the blogging website Tumblr that at least one image of child pornography had been uploaded to the website on Dec. 28, 2017.

The image depicted a "very young" girl performing a sexual act on a man, according to investigators.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.